The Penny Drop in Box Hill (Melbourne)

If you take a look at The Penny Drop’s website, you could very well mistaken it for advertising the sale of some luxurious apartment. The Penny Drop is remarkably up to date with its exquisite interior – marble, wood, blacks and whites, copper and stone, creative lighting features – these are all furnishings du jour. So aesthetically, it’s a cafe that is extremely pleasing to the eye. It’s a comfortable place to while the weekend away with nice open spaces and plenty of sunlight streaming from the floor to ceiling windows. There’s reasonably busy traffic too, with this cafe taking the interest (out of curiosity? media hype? convenience?) of many brunch seekers in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Someone from my company had a regular flat white and it came looking more like a glass of milk with tints of brown. It tasted just like it looks. The long black (which seemed somewhat diluted) left a lingering acidic taste, which was not my preference.

For coffee lovers looking for a good roasted kick, you have to order them strong. They were fine, but do ask them to heat up the milk slightly more if you prefer your coffees hot, for they tended to be rather lukewarm.

Food was a bit hit and miss for me and my company. Actually, probably more miss (unfortunately). The Penny Drop’s menu proved a treat, in appearance that is. It came on a wooden clipboard with leather and gold finishings. Very, very posh and probably the best I have seen. I don’t really know what to make of a particular feature of this cafe’s design scheme: leaping (levitating?) human bodies with their heads edited away are on their menus and adorn a wall in the cafe.

Food-wise, it appeared to be rather elaborate too, being divided in Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. However, and this may be purely personal, the choices offered just weren’t very exciting, especially for a cafe touted as many to be one to look out for this year. There was also a particularly cringe-worthy addition on the menu. I get that perhaps this could be a humourous play on the “money” theme extending from its name; but giving every other menu item a little phrase as a play on its ingredients gets stale to the reader pretty quickly. See example for yourself below:


Anyway, I am pleased to report that the Penny Drop does burgers well, so if you were looking to “hedge your lunch bets”, go this route (see what I did?).

Other items that we ordered were Asian-influenced and come recommended by the wait staff. They were reasonably tasty but nothing to shout about. I have to say though: Clever substitution of spring onion with wakame!

Potato & garlic chive waffle: Poached eggs, ham, hollandaise, wakame
Thai-inspired duck pancake

For sweets, we opted for the chia pudding and regretfully, a brownie in an exceptionally sorry state (for which I shall spare your eyes).

Coconut & black chia pudding: Caramelised banana, cranberry, mango

The Penny Drop has also adopted the “we serve dinner too” policy and so they are open until late from Wednesdays to Saturdays. I would probably save this cafe for a day when I haven’t the appetite for travelling further to find a meal elsewhere.

The Penny Drop
913 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill
Phone: +61 (3) 9077 7455

See how this cafe ranks on The Hungry Wolf’s list of Melbourne’s Best Cafes!


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